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EC To Pursue Antitrust Despite Microsoft's IE Move

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the nice-try dept.

The Courts 484

snydeq writes "The European Commission will proceed with its antitrust case against Microsoft regardless of Microsoft's decision to strip IE from Windows 7 in Europe. Europe's top antitrust regulator said the EC would draw up a remedy that allows computer users 'genuine consumer choice,' noting that stripping out IE from Windows 'may potentially be positive,' but 'rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less.' Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, whose complaint to the European Commission at the end of 2007 sparked the initial antitrust investigation, said Microsoft is 'trying to set the remedy itself by stripping out IE. ... Now that Microsoft has acknowledged it has been breaking the law by bundling IE into Windows, the Commission must push ahead with an effective remedy,' he said."

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484 comments

Okay, enough already (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309113)

I know this is /., where everyone just loves to bash MS at every opportunity. But the EC is way out of line on this one.

First of all, the old "bundling a browser with your OS is unfair" argument is a relic from the 90's, when browsers were still a bit of a novelty. But it's 2009. *EVERY* OS comes bundled with a browser now--Apple, Ubuntu, everyone. Forcing MS not to bundle a simple default browser with their OS isn't leveling the playing field, it's forcing them to play with a disadvantage over everyone else. Including a default browser with your OS today is no more remarkable than including a default media player, or calculator, or text editor, etc. How would you even GET to the Firefox website to install it if you didn't have IE included with a fresh Windows install (this isn't 1996--most people don't keep install discs for their browsers anymore).

Secondly, what exactly is MS supposed to do if NOT bundling their browser isn't even enough for the EC? Are they supposed to have Steve Ballmer commit seppuku? Announce they're going out of business? Drop to their knees and give handjobs to all the EC commissioners? If even a move that will put them at a serious disadvantage in competing with Apple and Linux isn't enough--then *WHAT EXACTLY IS*?

At this point the EC isn't helping the consumer, they just seem like they're being spiteful. They whole thing seems more like a grudge than a public service.

Okay diehard MS bashers, flame away.

Re:Okay, enough already (1, Redundant)

hbean (144582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309155)

I'll join you in getting heavily modded down by the MS bashers, this whole thing is insane. MS says theyll remove the browser, but thats not good enough, they have to provide the browser, because not doing so would be providing less, and somehow also, via magic, not have it be used unless the user wants to.

Give me a break. The guy who is coming up with this on the EC is probably still types M$ in his inter-office emails.

Re:Okay, enough already (1, Interesting)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309197)

I'll join the both of you, too. I have Karma to burn.

At this point I don't think it has anything to do with a 'monopoly' in the browser market. I think it is just greed, plain and simple. If the EU can find MS to be 'guilty' (again) then they can extract more cash from the company.

Re:Okay, enough already (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309475)

Fuck you, OP, and everyone who uses mod-point-martyrdom, to express their point of view.

"I have karma to burn"
"I'll probably get modded down for this but..."
"Ok, flame away"

Just make your point, and leave that crap out next time.

Re:Okay, enough already (2, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309543)

You miss the point. It is commentary on how Slashdot is hugely Anti-MS to the point of being retarded, and how posting anything supporting MS is a nice way to generate some hate.

Just make your point, and leave that crap out next time.

Just make your point, and leave out the vulgarity next time.

Re:Okay, enough already (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309703)

I didn't miss the point at all. If you read the last story about this very topic, it was completely full of anti-European commission comments.

Some MS bashing would probably have made it more balanced. As it stands, all those people above are just gaming the mod system.

Re:Okay, enough already (-1, Offtopic)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309555)

This post is just for experiment.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Offtopic)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309625)

I'll probably get modded down for this, but this post is just for experiment.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309663)

That's not a particularly good experiment; the second post is arguably Redundant.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Flamebait)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309657)

Agreed entirely. I'm off-topic here, but I've got karma to burn. Anyone who declares themselves a mod-martyr is obviously fishing for mods (in nearly every case) - And OP made a valid, on-topic, insightful post (mod-martyr aside). WTF? Just make your point and move on!

[OK - There's a joke up there for those of you about to quote and flame me.]

Seriously, I was a big MS basher with regards to the browser thing back in the days when they were facing their initial anti-trust suits and I just wanted my Netscape. But now about all they can do is start bundling competitor's software (again) to make these people happy. Does Norton include AVG on their install discs? Not last time I checked...

Re:Okay, enough already (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309699)


I also agree (is this really Slashdot, or has my DNS been spoofed), but lets just clear up that the EU don't want MS to ship without a browser, but with multiple browsers. However, Microsoft have it right. I don't want a new computer cluttered up with multiple browsers. There are some browsers I may not want installed (do I really trust Google's browser?). Some browsers may come with terms and conditions I don't like and quite frankly it's just clutter to me and confusion to others. If I install Ubuntu or Kubuntu, okay, I can get other browsers easily, but they do come with a default one installed. Finally, if you do install multiple browsers, who gets approved and who does not? And by who? If we get IE, Firefox and Chrome does Opera sue? If we add Opera then what about Links? And why stop with browsers? If WordPad is on there, then shouldn't TextPad be there too? And if Outlook's installed, then you've got to have Thunderbird. And Opera (again). And Mulberry.

It would be nice if there were some way of preventing Microsoft from leveraging IE on the back of Windows that wasn't worse than the problem itself. But not including a browser is worse and the EU proposal for multiple browsers is worse than that still, imo.

There have even been attempts to integrate the browser even more fully into the OS. Microsoft was exploring this (albeit initial efforts were ugly), but I guess the EU action put a crimper on it and the possibility we might see something more radical and better developed.

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309217)

You are all a ignorant joke. Grow up and stop whining.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309679)

Personally even though IE's not my browser of choice if they bundled Firefox I'd still download IE for those few websites that don't function right under Firefox. Not to mention I'd need it and just about every other browser if I had to do any Web Design (Which I occasionally do)

BTW love the sig best laugh I've had all week

Re:Okay, enough already (1, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309707)

I'll join you in getting heavily modded down by the MS bashers, this whole thing is insane. MS says theyll remove the browser, but thats not good enough, they have to provide the browser, because not doing so would be providing less, and somehow also, via magic, not have it be used unless the user wants to.

Give me a break.

The goal is to make IE earn its marketshare by competing with other available Windows browsers. That's really not a bad goal, not when you consider that it would probably put a lot of pressure on IE to become better and more standards-compliant. It would mean IE being installed only when a user actually chooses it, just like Firefox or Opera or Chrome. More practically, since its rendering engine is used throughout Windows, it would probably mean IE being visible to the user and set as the default browser only when this is requested by the user.

You hardly need magic to make that happen. Imagine a simple, primitive sort of package manager that has only one task: connecting to a microsoft.com server and retrieving the latest download links for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera (etc.) allowing the user to choose a default browser. This package manager would also list IE and be able to do whatever is necessary to make it visible on the system and set as the default browser. All of these browser options could be listed side-by-side in an unbiased way, such as alphabetical order. Also, the package manager would have whatever programming is necessary to download and initiate the installation of the chosen browser, so you also avoid the chicken-and-egg problem of how an average user would download a browser without first having some kind of browser. Then you set that package manager to run on the first boot-up of Windows and you also make it available in the Control Panel so it can be changed at any time.

I'll admit I am a bit surprised that so many people are dissatisfied with this news. So far I have not seen such a person provide a constructive solution to whatever they perceived as a problem worthy of complaint (that part is less surprising). It didn't take me very long to think of one; maybe yours would be better.

Give me a break. The guy who is coming up with this on the EC is probably still types M$ in his inter-office emails.

Maybe he has an odd sense of humor? Perhaps he does that thinking "somewhere, some Slashdotter is going to complain about this." I bet he eats food you don't like and listens to music you don't like too, just to piss you off.

Really though the whole "M$" thing probably would have gone away some time ago if it weren't for the contempt it sometimes inspires. There are more egregious (and at the same time, less intentional) spelling errors and deviations out there. They just aren't as noteworthy because nothing brings out that "us versus them" element quite like a large powerful organization.

Stupid mongrels (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309169)

Eurofags: they should fix their immigration policies instead of limiting freedom and capitalism...

Re:Okay, enough already (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309173)

I agree completely. I don't use IE myself, but the EC's position that MS should not only not bundle their own browser, but instead bundle *competing* browsers is inane. I'm not a gung-ho laissez-faire capitalist, but forcing companies to promote competing products is over the line.

Of course, not bundling a browser is problematic as well. The technologically illiterate, and even the semi-skilled could not figure out how to download a browser without having a browser to start with. All I'd like to see is the option to uninstall cleanly, not a mandatory release of a browser-less (read: near useless) OS.

Re:Okay, enough already (4, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309467)

MS's plan is to allow OEMs to include whatever browser they want in the EU version of Windows. No manufacturer is going to be foolish enough to ship a system without some sort of browser installed.

Re:Okay, enough already (2, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309689)

Clearly what MS should do to appease the EC is bundle every copy of Windows with IE, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Netscape, SeaMonkey, K-Meleon, Amaya, Maxthon, Flock, Slim, KidRocket, PhaseOut, Crazy Browser, Smart Bro, ShenzBrowser, JonDoFox, Avant, xB, Sleipnir, spacetime, Browser3D, 3B Room, Bitty, Grail, Lynx, and Happy Browser. Clearly this will improve Windows performance and usability for the average consumer.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Troll)

micronicos (344307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309183)

Total nonsense! The EU is doing what the USA should have done a decade ago. If the US regulators hadn't been spineless & in bed with big business.

You Americans talk so big - when someone else shows cohones you can only scream & stamp your little feet.

I'm proud of Europe & the EU here. We'll get Windows bundled with Opera & Firefox yet.

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309321)

We'll get Windows bundled with Opera & Firefox yet.

Good luck with that. More likely you'll need to buy a browser on CD seperately if you get the new Windows OS.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309335)

This doesn't make any sense. Is Mac required to bundle IE? Windows comes with a default browser, and using said browser (an essential piece of software) you can get any other browser you wish. This is simply a double standard for Microsoft.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309425)

The EU is doing what the USA should have done a decade ago

What, get government involved in the design of software products? Perhaps they should also dictate which file system you're allowed to easily enable with Linux distros that happen to be provided by private companies when they ship netbooks? How about the choices of desktop wallpaper? And mouse pointer icons, of course. I think the EC should really set up a high priority commission to dictate the shape of mouse pointers, and to make sure that any successful operating system is only shipped with very poor mouse pointers, and advertisements for third party software vendors' mouse pointer icon product packages. I can't believe that the spineless EC has gone soft on the mouse pointer scandal.

You Americans talk so big - when someone else shows cohones you can only scream & stamp your little feet.

Yes, yes, Death To America, etc. You're so original!

Showing cohones? What are you talking about? All the EC is doing is telling a company from another country how they have to create the software they sell. It's not clear, exactly, why Europe is utterly lacking the cohones to give birth to a company that can create a better operating system, or actually cause another option to be more popular. Classic stuff, there. You're Brave and Studly because you are willing to use threats and destruction to tear down a company's products, rather than actually create something that competes with it. You'd rather cripple an operating system than build an operating system. So courageous! So progressive!

MOD PARENT UP!! (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309507)

I hate Microsoft as much as any one. I mean I *really really* hate the Romans^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Microsoft - A LOT! But for God's sake, parent is exactly right - does anybody think the glorious EU (NAFTA on steroids) meddling in *anything* is a good idea, much less OS design?

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309457)

Total nonsense! The EU is doing what the USA should have done a decade ago.

And that's precisely the problem: a decade has passed since this should have been done. Conditions have changed, and unbundling the browser no longer stands any chance of countering IE's unfair advantage. More likely, in fact, that advantage will only get worse.

Here's how it works: without a bundled browser, getting a browser becomes significantly more of a hassle, unless of course you use the handy built-in "Get Internet Explorer" bookmark, conveniently provided on the user's desktop. Microsoft will likely not stop there, either; they'll offer free CDs with IE on it at retail outlets. Combine these, and unbundling the browser actually makes it harder to choose a competitor's product, while only slightly increasing Microsoft's cost to keep its browser front and center.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309723)

The solution should be streamlined into the windows installation/post build setup. When a user turns on his/her/its new Dell, Windows prompts for some information like computer name, user name, etc. Why can't it prompt at that time for a browser? User selects browser, Windows installs it, sets it as default browser and problem solved.

The solution is simple but MS wanted to play hardball with EU as in: fuck you, we'll remove the browser. They know that removing the browser will fuck up people who aren't technological literate enough (99% of the planet) to install another browser. Or simply, they know that removing the browser will shift blame/scrutiny to OEMs to make sure OEMs offer the choice of installing different browsers.

And that pissed off the EU, and now the EU is playing hardball with them with: fuck you, pay us another 600 or so millions.

Re:Okay, enough already (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309527)

If you weren't so spineless you'd simply use Linux and STFU. But this is what the rest of the world has come to expect from crybaby Euro-trash.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Troll)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309193)

If I was Ballmer, I'd tell the EC to go fuck themselves, and then yank every Microsoft product from the shelves in the EU.

Either Linux will (finally) hit the mainstream, and /. people will be happy, or the populations of the EU will shit their fucking pants and tell the EC to go fuck themselves.

Either way, the people win, and this anti-corporation EU bullshit ends.

And Microsoft sucks, and is evil, and blah blah blah free software rules!

Re:Okay, enough already (1, Insightful)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309287)

If I was Ballmer, I'd tell the EC to go fuck themselves, and then yank every Microsoft product from the shelves in the EU.

Unfortunately Microsoft is a publicly-traded corporation. They're liable to the shareholders to provide the maximum possible return on their investment, which means they're going to continue tolerating the EU as long as the potential returns from the European market are greater than the European fees, fines and levies.

Microsoft is a huge American corporation, so the EC is basically using them as a source for extra funding. If Microsoft were based in Europe this wouldn't be happening.

Re:Okay, enough already (5, Insightful)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309391)

If Microsoft were based in Europe this wouldn't be happening.

I doubt that. Many european companies have been fined by the EU for illegal business practices.

Re:Okay, enough already (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309687)

Many european companies have been fined by the EU for illegal business practices.

Yeah.......why don't you tell us about the BIG European IT companies.......oh wait, there aren't any.

Sorry about that.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Redundant)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309403)

Oh, I know that can't pull their product...and if they did do it & Linux won as a result it would be regarded as the most fucking inane business decision ever.

But you're entirely correct...its a total "tax grab" in the guise of "The Big Bad American Corporation shit on our businesses, so now we'll shit on them."

As much as I hate Microsoft, this pinko fascist anti-business bullshit goes way too far. I honestly feel sorry for people who have to live under the EU "rule".

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309605)

If Microsoft were based in Europe this wouldn't be happening.

Hahaha, that's a classic that is.

Microsoft would still have been sued to hell and back if they repeated all the same anti-competitive bullshit they have pulled over the years.
The EU is a monster, albeit a monster that likes to try and balance everything, with a little bit of PMS teenager thrown in.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309733)

Microsoft is a huge American corporation, so the EC is basically using them as a source for extra funding. If Microsoft were based in Europe this wouldn't be happening.

just because your government is totally corrupt, don't assume that other people's governments are too.

Re:Okay, enough already (3, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309245)

Microsoft uses partners to sell their product. Now M$ won't have the option do decide what browser we will get, instead the reseller will provide one for use.

The consumer will still get Windows with an Internet browser.

I know this is already the case with some dealers, but now EU said it's totally up to them what to bundle with Windows and not a Microsoft decision.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

zoips (576749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309313)

And so what happens for the people who go to the store and buy a copy of Windows? There are more ways to obtain Windows than on a prebuilt Dell, you know...

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309363)

You can go all the way to the store, but you can't have an Internet Browser on your USB stick?

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Manfre (631065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309673)

"You can go all the way to the store, but you can't have an Internet Browser on your USB stick?"

They were able to buy a computer, but why can't they just code their own Internet Browser?

My argument makes more sense than yours because all computers come with the tools to write a browser, but they all do not come with a USB stick. Having the skills to shop at a store in no way implies that a typical user would know to purchase a USB drive and then find a way of installing a browser on to it.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309719)

Makes perfect sense.
Going to the shop, buying the Windows CD you need, install Windows on a new PC is easy. But buying an USB stick and get the Internet browser is beyond human capability.

Get real.
 

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309377)

Parent is correct.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309419)

They also get an option in the installer which says: install or not install IE

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309423)

Then you get the browser the same way you get the drivers to make the network card work - a USB stick and someone else's working PC.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309445)

...Or those of us who still like to build our own systems, or those small scale non-Dell/non-HP computer makers who don't have any special deal with MS.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309505)

I know this is already the case with some dealers, but now EU said it's totally up to them what to bundle with Windows and not a Microsoft decision.

The simple truth is that OEMs already have the opportunity to delete the IE icon, and put a big fat Firefox on the desktop. But that's not customer choice, either. People who know they want Firefox are going and downloading it; OEMs have the option to bundle Firefox now, but usually don't.

I have a real problem with forcing Microsoft to remove functionality from the Operating System. I maintain that the solution to Microsoft's evil deeds (and they were sufficiently ill to be called that, in my opinion) is to remove their ill-gotten gains. Determine what portion of their fortune resulted from forcing OEMs to unbundle other browsers, and fine them that amount. If it should be trillions, that's okay. They can elect to simply withdraw completely from the EU.

Removing the browser from the OS harms only the customer, who may actually want it, or in fact need it. Microsoft can still deliver IE via Windows Update, so it will still be the logical choice for a user who has no browser, but now they will have to spend time downloading it. That, or it will come on the CD, and they'll have to install it. Or, finally, OEMs will just be installing it anyway, because Windows is supposed to come with IE, and some users know that.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309647)

Fining a company for misbehaving is not the perfect solution. The best thing to do is to make it impossible for them to break the law in the first place.

This is like saying speeding is ok, as long as you pay the fines.

And customers will get the damn Internet browser, if the reseller can't be arsed to put one in, they should be out of business anyway.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309717)

Fining a company for misbehaving is not the perfect solution. The best thing to do is to make it impossible for them to break the law in the first place.

You're fucking hilarious.

It's impossible to prevent people from breaking the law without putting them into padded rooms.

This is like saying speeding is ok, as long as you pay the fines.

Another stupid comment from you; speed limits are set to make money, not to save lives. If we wanted to save lives, we'd find an alternative to cars. (Hint: there are numerous alternatives already.)

And customers will get the damn Internet browser, if the reseller can't be arsed to put one in, they should be out of business anyway.

I agree with this, but it's still stupid. I predict that the majority of computers sold with Windows will come with IE whether Microsoft is allowed to make it part of the default OEM install or not... unless the EC is planning to bar resellers from bundling IE as well. I wonder what the total cost to industry of having to install IE and test separately from Windows in all the places where it is required is going to look like. I'd bet it will be hundreds of millions, at least.

Re:Okay, enough already (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309701)

The big OEM's *already* have the option to bundle Firefox/Opera/etc. as their default browser (Firefox would certainly be a big improvement over all the other useless crapware and adware they bundle with most off-the-shelf computers these days). Pretty much none of them do (that I know of). The EC doesn't want to give the OEM's the option of installing an alternative browser (they already have it), they want to TAKE AWAY their option of leaving IE as the default browser (as they pretty much all do now). I don't see how that benefits the consumer in any way. It just seems like a spiteful jab at MS and a double-standard that they don't apply to Apple, Canonical, etc.

Re:Okay, enough already (1, Troll)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309273)

I suppose the silver lining is that we'll still be able to open any old Explorer window (you know, the file manager thingy, not IE) and just type a URL there. IE is too deeply tied into Windows to really remove it altogether; my guess is that the only change will be the disappearance of the blue "e" icon.

It's still stupid, though. I guess it all started with the Netscape vs. Microsoft lawsuit in the '90s, and IMHO even that lawsuit was stupid. WTF can the legal basis be for forbidding any OS vendor from adding functionality to their products? What's next, <car analogy> Honda can't put their own brand of radio in the new cars they sell because it hurts the sales of Blaupunkt? </car analogy>

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309367)

Last I checked, Honda didn't have a monopoly on cars. Not even a near-monopoly.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309293)

How would you even GET to the Firefox website to install it if you didn't have IE included with a fresh Windows install (this isn't 1996--most people don't keep install discs for their browsers anymore).

FTP!?

Secondly, what exactly is MS supposed to do if NOT bundling their browser isn't even enough for the EC?

Did you even bother to read the summary?

(...) noting that stripping out IE from Windows 'may potentially be positive,' but 'rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less.'

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

Spike15 (1023769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309347)

I think at this juncture it would be beneficial to the conversation to point out that the CEO of Opera is using the same sort of tactic that people often accuse Microsoft of employing. He's just hurling FUD around without any basis. Stripping IE out of the operating system isn't providing less choice: Before you had no choice, you had IE and that was that, now you have a choice between IE and no IE. The choice of using some other browser is there, but now you have the ADDED choice of having IE, or not having IE. Maybe I'm totally missing something, but that seems like categorically more choice to me...

FTP (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309339)

I agree with your arguments, but I'd like to point out that there is one way to get Firefox without IE, or any other browser. You can open an FTP session from the Windows command prompt. I know because I did it for a friend who's IE stopped working completely.

Granted, the average computer user won't be savvy enough to do this.

Re:FTP (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309447)

That's probably the same kind of user who also wouldn't install Windows.

Re:FTP (2, Funny)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309449)

You know, I think it is unfair that Microsoft bundles this command line FTP client with the operating system. The end-user deserves more choice here.

Ha ha. Just kidding. But you get what I'm saying, no?

Re:Okay, enough already (-1, Troll)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309369)

The EU want to penalize MS because it's a big monopolistic company that has a stranglehold over their software (governments, schools etc.) - I sense this is more the EU playing "hard ball" than genuinely trying to open up choice for the consumer (due to the price of the software - I believe MS has some nasty tactics when it comes to negotiating cost, so no doubt this is retaliation - "You do that: We'll mess you around in court")

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309421)

The EU is looking to help their financial crisis by extorting money from MS.

F*ck the EU.

MS says "we're not including a browser" and the Opera f*ckhead says that "Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less" - is he a retard or what?

MS should tell the EU that all OS released in the EU should be browserless. That includes Linux, OSX, etc. why should it JUST be MS?

Oh. Wait. Because the EU can't get money from the others.

MS should pull all LICENSES and demand the EU enforce copyright law. And then start suing countries and people in the EU for not removing their windows/office licenses from their systems.

Re:Okay, enough already (0, Flamebait)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309509)

EU want MS to include a choice in the Win7 installer that gives a user the choise to install either EI, Firefox or Opera. Instead MS just went out to remove the choice of having a brower entirely.

Even if Microsoft is forced to stop their anti-competitive practises they still don't give the user the choice of a different browser. Microsoft knows that nobody bought the Windows XP version without the Windows Media Player so they know that by removing IE from the European version of Windows7 people are still only going to see IE from an imported version of Windows 7.

Fsck them. Fsck them hard in their ass EU! I hope they'll bleed. And stop whining about the EU only wanting to make money because their fines are a tiny drop in the financial ocean. Ever cared to look at how much money the EU has? Well do it then and stop whine...

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309521)

Eh? The EC didnt make them remove the browser from the OS. Microsoft decided to do so all by themselves.

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309541)

You can't force Microsoft to put other browsers in their OS - that opens to door for any company to 'force' Microsoft to include their software. It's so idiotic.

When a consumer buys a computer from Dell or HP they could choose their preferred web browser and they can install their OEM without IE and put on another browser or just update the default browser - but ultimately some web sites only work in IE and a lot of consumers may need IE for their corporate intranet or training.

I love how Opera brings all this up, Mozilla's had no problem gaining market share with their browser and it keeps growing, despite the fact that IE is bundled with every version of Windows.

It's so easy to download another browser and change your default browser selection - I don't see where this argument gets any merit. No one downloads Opera because it's the most inferior of the 4 largest browsers used on Windows (IE, FireFox, Safari, Opera). I have FireFox and it does more for me, wtf would I want Opera, it doesn't bring anything to the table for me.

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309561)

Look, this isn't about getting a computer without a browser, it's about letting computer manufacturers install an alternative to IE8 if they want to. This is a good move by the EU -- why not let suppliers change components around if they want to create a unique selling proposition over their competitors?

Re:Okay, enough already (1)

jabelli (1144769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309611)

I'm sure handjobs would not be sufficient.

Re:Okay, enough already (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309617)

First of all, the old "bundling a browser with your OS is unfair" argument is a relic from the 90's

I don't agree. MS still has a lot to gain by having their browser remain the "default". Thankfully, they got lazy and IE fell far enough behind that Firefox grabbed some market share... but several years ago it was very common to have IE-only web sites. This guaranteed that, even if you ran Mac or Linux OS software you still needed a Windows license to use certain sites on the internet.

They should not be allowed to leverage their monopoly to push into other markets, either. If Apple someday commands 90% of the market, we need to force them to include browsers besides Safari as well. Heck, until MS stopped making a Mac version of IE, Apple shipped that one.

How would you even GET to the Firefox website to install it if you didn't have IE included with a fresh Windows install (this isn't 1996--most people don't keep install discs for their browsers anymore).

A wizard that comes up the first time you boot a new Windows install. The wizard can say, "check boxes next to all browsers you wish to install". Offer Opera, Safari, Mozilla, and IE. The next wizard page can ask which should be the default browser. Done.

I'm not a huge fan of MS's products, but I'm not a "basher" by any means. What they have is a monopoly in the desktop OS market as well as the office application market. They should not be allowed to use either monopoly to give them an advantage in other markets - including anything internet-related.

Re:Okay, enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309637)

The EC wants money out of Microsoft.

The Opera guys want Opera to be mandated into every Windows install.

What is "right" doesn't factor into this.

Wait what? (4, Insightful)

Spike15 (1023769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309171)

Even if I could understand / appreciate the whole "anti-trust" thing, and conceded that it was the government's place to interfere to stop monopolies (which I can't), how is it EVER logical to suggest that it's up to a for-profit company to provide "consumer choice" by touting its competitors' products? That's just totally ridiculous. You say that Microsoft is breaking the law by bundling IE with its software, great, I could argue that, that shouldn't be against the law, et cetera (but I won't, because it's not really relevant to the matter-at-hand), but how can you suggest that rather than just making them not bundle IE, you should ALSO make them provide ipso facto advertising (for free) for their competitors by offering so-called "genuine consumer choice"?

Re:Wait what? (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309381)

Lern 2 LaT1n

But really, it will detract from the power of your argument if you incorrectly use things which would otherwise appear fancy.

De facto might be a better fit.

Also you should learn economics so that you do understand.

I hope I've helped.

Re:Wait what? (1)

Spike15 (1023769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309481)

Lern 2 LaT1n

But really, it will detract from the power of your argument if you incorrectly use things which would otherwise appear fancy.

De facto might be a better fit.

I don't see how "ipso facto" doesn't fit, being that it means "by the fact itself":

Ipso Facto is a Latin phrase, directly translated as "by the fact itself," which means that a certain effect is a direct consequence of the action in question

By providing a "browser ballot" directly in Windows, Microsoft would be, ipso facto, providing advertisement for their competitors in the browser market. I could have used "de facto" in similar context by saying "Microsoft would be providing de facto advertisement for its competitors", but "ipso facto" (as far as I can tell) works also.

Re:Wait what? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309641)

Even if I could understand / appreciate the whole "anti-trust" thing, and conceded that it was the government's place to interfere to stop monopolies (which I can't), how is it EVER logical to suggest that it's up to a for-profit company to provide "consumer choice" by touting its competitors' products? That's just totally ridiculous. You say that Microsoft is breaking the law by bundling IE with its software, great, I could argue that, that shouldn't be against the law, et cetera (but I won't, because it's not really relevant to the matter-at-hand), but how can you suggest that rather than just making them not bundle IE, you should ALSO make them provide ipso facto advertising (for free) for their competitors by offering so-called "genuine consumer choice"?

Maybe for a quick history lesson: Microsoft was extremely suspicious that Netscape could usurp it's OS position via the browser (think google apps, etcetera) and making it's OS redundant. However, Netscape Navigator charged money for it's product.

Microsoft, otoh, bought Mosaic, and started giving IE out for free. In antitrust, this can be argued as "dumping", selling your product at below cost in order to obtain marketshare and drive competitors with smaller pocket out of business (often the good price is temporary too). Another argument is that Microsoft leveraged it's OS monopoly in order to gain another monopoly, which is illegal under US law. Standard Oil bought into railroads in order to charge their competition extravangantly more (or agree to SO's terms). As Steve Ballmer often said of Windows, it's the developers! However, they had a long history of seeing a good idea and stealing it for themselves, coming out with a product. Now, they can bundle it with their OS and make it default before the competition knows what hits them.

Although this is all long gone and the browser market is way different than back then. I think the EU should mandate that major sellers like Dell offer at least one computer model in each line with Linux (one netbook, one desktop, one notebook). That way MS cannot slap these companies with punitive terms when it feels like it because they are only following the law.

Re:Wait what? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309721)

I'm all for keeping the government out of the economy as much as possible, but unless you consider a monopoly a good thing, what solution is there besides government intervention to break a monopoly in any realistic fashion?

On what basis? (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309191)

On the basis? That they're NOT bundling IE now? I despise Microsoft as much as the next Ubuntu DVD-wielding geek, but if they pull IE out of Windows 7 in Europe, along with the stuff they opened up (apparently to the EC's satisfaction) haven't they complied with the EC's demands? Does the EC have something else on Microsoft?

I'm just a bit puzzled here. Someone enlighten me.

Re:On what basis? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309279)

if there is no base, then the case would be closed. that's the way courts work.

Maybe they're just thinking... (0, Troll)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309205)

Fuck em.

I know it's a bit trolloish bit I'm pissed ans I',m ust saying.

EC endusers will rue proposed browser ballots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309221)

When Pat Buchanan wins.

0% ACID compliance, super-slow page loads, and no support for non-english character sets.

wrong tag (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309233)

I see the tag damnedifyoudodamnedifyoudont, but I think the tag damnedbecauseyoudid is more appropriate. Do you not put a suspected thief on trial because he put down the TV he was stealing when the policeman stared right at him?

Re:wrong tag (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309307)

No, but when he stops stealing TVs you generally stop getting the police to watch him.

Re:wrong tag (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309317)

He wasn't stealing it. He just wanted to check how difficult it is to carry the TV around, in order to make a more informed purchase decision.

Re:wrong tag (1)

zoips (576749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309337)

Not really a very good analogy, that...

Re:wrong tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309389)

The first sane response I've seen in this thread at last! It's actually worse than that, effectively this imaginary thief has been making off with TVs for the last decade, but because he puts this particular TV down when the policeman looks at him we'll let him off all the earlier offences too? I don't think so!

Re:wrong tag (3, Insightful)

Spike15 (1023769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309397)

Do you not put a suspected thief on trial because he put down the TV he was stealing when the policeman stared right at him?

No because you can't convict people on suspicions alone. In the example you gave, the "suspected thief" didn't actually steal anything. He put the TV down before he stole because the police officer was staring right at him. That it may be "obvious" to our "sensibilities" that he was going to steal the TV is irrelevant. The law is functional because it does NOT allow us to jump to such conclusions, and require that someone ACTUALLY OFFEND and have this offense PROVEN for punishment to be inflicted upon them.

Re:wrong tag (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309401)

I see the tag damnedifyoudodamnedifyoudont, but I think the tag damnedbecauseyoudid is more appropriate. Do you not put a suspected thief on trial because he put down the TV he was stealing when the policeman stared right at him?

This is a fair point.

Others don't seem to like the EU saying just not bundling isn't enough. I suspect the EU fear Microsoft are simply going to not bundle IE, but instead make it very easy to install with nothing pointing to competing browsers.

Think along the lines of a 'connect to the internet wizard' that says "you'll need an internet browser, should I download and install internet explorer?".Whereas I think the EU are after something that says "You'll need an internet explorer, Please select which you would like to download and install *internet explorer *firefox *safari *chrime".

Re:wrong tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309551)

But the still horrible part about all of that really is the distinction of "who's important enough" to get to be on that list. The EU will decide that list and really who are they to decide what are appropriate? It's not a governing body's job to decide appropriate businesses, it's the market's. And if the market chooses one, you don't just say "oh, well we don't like you, so we'll go with something else" just because you're some WAY too powerful government entity.

Re:wrong tag (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309569)

Whereas I think the EU are after something that says "You'll need an internet explorer, Please select which you would like to download and install *internet explorer *firefox *safari *chrime".

How about, "Being able to display web content is now an essential part of using your operating system. As the makers of that operating system, we've provided a web browsing application that does a very nice job. You can change to another web browsing any time you want, just by visiting this link: www.microsoft.com/free_advertising_for_competitors"

If the EC put a little bit of effort into, oh, I don't know, putting up a typical European billboard with a topless model explaining that there are other browsers out there, so just install one if you want to... gee, wouldn't that be better than forcing their governments into a private company's product life cycle?

Re:wrong tag (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309615)

With IE selected by default?

Re:wrong tag (1)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309623)

I'm sorry, but who the fuck thinks its wrong for a company to say "Hey, you need a browser, want ours?" IN THEIR OWN FUCKING PRODUCT?

I used this analogy once on another forum...lets see if I can get flamed here too...

I make widgets. Now, not only do I make widgets, but I'm a smart and greedy son of a bitch. So I own the mine where the metal comes from for my widget, I own the patents on the mining equipment, I own the transportation...I own it fucking all.

Now, imagine that exactly 1 widget is required in every single automobile. So I'm still a smart yet evil business son of a bitch...so I start making cars. And convieliently, since I own the entire widget process, my widgets work perfectly in my cars.

So between my own car brand and others, I own 85% of the widget business. Sure, there are a couple of other widget builders out there, and one group dedicated to building your own widgets, but I'm king shit of the widget world.

Now, suddenly and without explanation, the EU comes in and tells me that I'm an anti-competitive fuckwit. So, as punishment, they fine me a shitpile of money, and force me to provide, with every WidgetCar sale, that I ask you if you want my widget or my competetor's widget or the build-your-own widget in the cars I make. So now they're fucking with my profit margins, so they can artifically inflate the numbers of "inferior" widgets sold.

Now, I know that IE is the inferior widget in our eyes...but who the fuck do these fascist twats think they are if they can demand me to package my competetor's product in my own? If the competition wants their product to succeed, it damn well better be better than mine, and they have to go to the effort to market it. I sure as fuck ain't going to market it for them.

That might be "evil" and "wrong" - but if people don't want to know about something else out there, or switch to it, why the fuck should I help them?

Yes, well... (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309309)

You have to stop and take a look at this from the EU point of view.

In the US, we seek humanistic solutions to what we see as wrongs done to the individual. In the EU, they seek procedural solutions to what they see as services gone wrong.

Bracketing non-EU style commendation onto the situation is risking stereotypical generalization (and milk soaked Wheaties) - walk in their shoes a bit first, before you firebomb their reactions.

Re:Yes, well... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309705)

As a life long Human and Us citizen, I don't think I've ever pursued a humanistic solution. What ever that means. At least not on purpose. Anti trust law deals with the companies misdeeds against other companies that then act to harm the consumer. There's nothing wrong with gouging/ mistreating the consumer as long as you don't prevent another company from providing better service. The US Government attorneys prosecuting the Microsoft anti trust case were going after Microsoft in a similar way. Could you care to explain in a little more detail ?

"MS breaking the law by bundling IE.."? (1)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309351)

I may be well behind on my law knowledge, but what law is this breaking? I mean I understand if MS prevented other browsers from being installed on Windows, but is this not similar to, for example, having a default terminal in Ubuntu that ships with the distribution, and the user has a choice to use their own any time they choose?

Re:"MS breaking the law by bundling IE.."? (5, Insightful)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309535)

It's monopoly abuse. Windows has a desktop monopoly. What Ubuntu or Apple does is not that important, they don't have a monopoly. If you do want to talk about the situation of Ubuntu and comparing it to Windows. Windows comes with IE and only IE or now maybe no browser at all (even less choice). Ubuntu comes with several terminal programs on the CD/DVD and you can install an other just and just as easily remove the one that was default.

I can see their point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309379)

How would the average user download another browser without IE installed?

fris7 pysot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309395)

in eternity...Romeo Parts. the current BBen the best,

absolutely agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309441)

i completely agree with this. im fucking sick to death of the EU on this subject.

i just want to be able to open an internet browser without having to fuck about clicking on which i want. they are all the same, the one preinstalled is good enough.

Give the EU a break (2, Interesting)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309463)

I mean, have you seen the economy lately? How else are they supposed to have a balanced budget without leveling massive fines on American companies?

Re:Give the EU a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309631)

Do you have any idea how much that "American company" makes annually in the EU? You make this sound like Europe leeching money off of the USA. Give me a break.

Welcome to Communism 101 (1)

lebartha (1517465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309493)

Thanks Opera and EC for bringing in a great old friend to the Consumer / Business world...idiots...

OMG people! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309577)

This is a GOOD THING. I can't believe all the rabid anti-EU postings here. Somebody finally has the courage to stand up to Microsoft, and you people want to sting them up!

Look: Microsoft has obtained their monopoly by unethical means. They have maintained that monopoly by illegal means. They are illegally leveraging their monopoly to extend their dominance into other markets.

Thank goodness the EU has the guts to fight this.

Hugo ChÃvez ...is that you? (0, Flamebait)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309595)

When did Venezuela join the EU?

Re:Hugo ChÃvez ...is that you? (1)

lebartha (1517465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309635)

Haha, nice!

Could have been worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28309609)

Microsoft could have bundled in an old version of firefox and restricted it to only being able to access add-ons from an approved source on microsofts site that you need a windows live ID to access. Do the same with the 8.0 version of Opera with a few settings "mis-set"

the browser arguement is lame (4, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309643)

what is a real issue today is the ability of buying a PC either desktop or laptop with an OS other than microsoft, [eg] FreeDOS, BSD, Linux, not giving consumers a choice of OS when buying a PC is the bigger monopolistic crime...

Honestly you lack fantasy... (2, Insightful)

emanem (1356033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309665)

First, I agree with EU.
American antitrust is proven not to work. Microsoft always abused of its monopoly position and you, americans, did nothing. Zero. Nada.

This decision is thought but I think that MS will be forced to provide a simple webpage that will direct the users to the main web-pages of the most diffused browsers.
How do I browse the above web page?
With a simple one page only browser that is allowed only to display that page.
I know it sounds ridicolous, but it's what the EU will force MS to do...
And if you think carefully is the only way MS can't force the PC vendors to embed once again IE. Sorry guys but we all know that if MS can cheat/bribe they will do it. At least is what they have done in the latest...15 years?
Be honest: do you really think that if MS will leave (so called) free choice to PC vendors, behind, those will be forced to embed IE?

Cheers,

deserved (1, Interesting)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309697)

now this is interesting. the eu does something to try to stop the most abusive monopolistic company of modern times, a company which costs the economies of the world billions of dollars every year, a company which forces drm and ignorance down the consumers' throats and what happens? suddenly the eu is in the wrong because "it's not america". i only hope most of the replies up to now have been astroturfing by microsoft, because if they aren't this paints a rather sorry picture of america and americans in general.

Let me see if I have this right... (4, Insightful)

zoomba (227393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309737)

Ok, Microsoft is found guilty of abusing its position of controlling the currently most popular PC OS on the market. Through bundling and anti-competitive practices they're nailed for being a monopoly.

The media player gets stripped out per an earlier EC case.

Now, in 2007, Opera complains about the browser bundling, saying that it gives Microsoft an unfair advantage in the browser wars. The EC says "Yeah, you're right! Ok MS, take out the bundled browser"

Microsoft complies, stripping out the IE user application from copies of Windows 7 to be distributed in Europe.

Opera and the EC, faced with getting exactly what they asked for, are now mad again because what they REALLY wanted Microsoft to do was to bundle a competing product with the base OS. They don't want a level playing field, they want to tip the scales in their favor (specifically to Opera).

I'm sorry, but there is a line being crossed here where we went from semi-valid to out-right ridiculous. Strip down the OS, fine. Let the OEMs decide what browser to install on a system. Let retailers sell $5 CDs containing Firefox, Opera, Safari etc with their copies of Windows 7. If you want the OS to be a neutral platform for applications, then it has to be just that. If you try to mandate what browser IS bundled, you're defeating the whole point and just creating a new monopoly for whoever the lucky guy is whose browser you choose (likely Opera).

Considering current browser usage statistics, I think the entire browser monopoly concept is antiquated. With IE currently holding around 41% of the total market, and Firefox with 47% (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp) it's pretty clear that a) it's not a monopoly anymore and b) bundling is not hurting other browsers.

What this really feels like is Opera is tired of being in last place (and probably especially pissed that up-start Chrome blew past them in just a month or two) and instead of capturing marketshare with a more compelling product, they're going to try and legislate themselves into a stronger market position.

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